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Moving Mountains/Magical Choices For Empowering Your Life's Journey
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Chapter 10
By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

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Tools of Action-

Do you know that disease and death
must overtake us, no matter what we
are doing? What do you wish to be
doing when it overtakes you?
If you have anything better to be
doing when you are so overtaken,
get to work on that.
-Epicteus

As you are sitting, visualize the path you want your journey to evolve into. Imagine yourself as you would like to be a year from now. What can you do now?

If you made it this far, you have begun examining the direction your journey is taking. You may not be aware of it, but you have a much clearer understanding of the basic ideas that are critical to enhancing your well-being. I'm talking about your choices, the universal and man-made obstacles, and the discouragement these obstacles can create for you. And the potent antidote to that discouragement: the necessary mindset to create a new way of thinking combined with new action.

In the next two chapters, we will discuss more about the action necessary to fuel your journey.

That's right, the next step is action. Detached reflection won't work here. You need some tools to use in this process of change.

If it's one thing that I have found, when we feel like we have the right tools to climb a mountain, we wind-up feeling a lot more confident about our ability to surmount any challenge we are facing. The confidence we gain when we feel like we have the right tools stems from the fact that we begin to let go of judgments we hold that we are broken or deficient.

You see, the real truth is that we only need the right tools. By embracing that truism, we can open ourselves to new and exciting adventures. New adventures where we are less concerned about whether or not we are capable of taking on new challenges and more focused on developing skills necessary to enjoy our new adventures. So here are five quick, small tools, but take your time as you read them, because they are powerful.

PATHFINDER'S TOOL- Balance
Learn to balance your life.

The wisdom handed down from thousands of years ago attributed to the Greeks was Do everything in moderation that you may enjoy all things. 

Any attitude or action taken to an extreme hurts us. This idea is so powerful entire books are written about it, but for our purposes it is important to realize that many areas of our lives can easily become overdone.

A strong feeling about someone can slide into obsession.

A disagreement between two people can become a vendetta.

The pleasure of drinking can become alcohol abuse.

Nervousness about meeting new people can transpose into isolation.

The point here is not to focus on all of the ways our lives reach imbalance. The point is as you discover the secrets to personal empowerment for yourself, this out of balance situation will, without a doubt, rear its head.

Plan time to treat yourself well. Be aware of this pitfall and nurture the parts of your soul that need some help.

PATHFINDER'S TOOL-ACCEPTANCE
Learn not to judge others.

Another important point is acceptance. It is an odd fact that every time we set out to work on our imperfections, we find a need to point out every imperfection we find in those around us. You know the old saying, There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker.

In our attempts to rid ourselves of our perceived shortcomings, we set out to rid the world of its shortcomings as well as our own. My point is that the wound that we are trying to close cannot be wished away within ourselves or criticized away when we see it in others.

Our healing is solely predicated upon the act of acceptance. Nothing more. Nothing less. The key to enhancing our awakening and our own healing is to avoid judging others. That specifically includes small comments made to put other people down. The most common areas we judge others are the areas that hit home, areas such as money, sexuality, and power.

A man recently rejected by a beautiful woman may judge beautiful women. A woman grieving a lost relationship may judge others in a relationship. Individuals struggling with their own sexual identity may criticize homosexuals. The list goes on infinitely.

PATHFINDER'S TOOL-ECONOMY
Work differently--not harder.

Often times we can be undone by our own determination. People who are motivated to grow and pursue their life path can often time have their efforts undone by their grit and drive.

The reason is quite simple. So many of us believe the way of self-correction is through working harder at something. How may times have you tangoed with a challenge only to feel as if you are getting nowhere? When my clients are in that position, they look at me with an intense, determined look and say, "I'll work harder at it next time."

I tell them, "Don't work harder at it, work differently at it. If all you do is the same thing you have always been doing, only harder, you will likely get the same result you have always gotten over and over again. Effort is critical, but, if you don't work differently at it, you will only continue spinning in a circle."

PATHFINDER'S TOOL-THE BIG PICTURE
Understanding consequences.

A friend once taught me an important lesson. It is a slogan used in Alcoholics Anonymous. The slogan is think the drink through.

What she means is, if you visualize the consequences of an action before you do it, you can more effectively choose whether you want to fall into that familiar trap.

Simply stated, we don't have to act on every impulse or feeling we have. We can pull back from our impulsiveness, our desire to flee, our wish for immediate gratification. There are times when our best interests are served by soothing our impulses and feelings immediately, other times we are best served by backing away from some things. The measuring stick--that's simple, consequences.

This idea works wonderfully for many situations. If you have a problem eating, think the Twinkie through. What would the consequences of that act be? If you have a problem with anger, think the blow up through. What would the consequences of that act be? If you have a problem with any repeated behavior, think it through.

PATHFINDER'S TOOL-BITE SIZED PIECES
Break challenges into small pieces.

Anytime we try something new, we feel overwhelmed. You need to keep in mind that no great task is ever done all at once. You must understand the only chance you or I have of ever solving a big problem is to reduce it to many small steps.

Once reduced, you can put your heart, mind, and intellect into your smallest act. That's the secret to success.

Let's try to put all of these points into perspective.

What makes any solution powerful is that it is created, implemented, and fine tuned by you. These strategies are the ultimate expression of your personal empowerment.

Every action we take, every word we say, every thought we have, begins somewhere. Sometimes we say and do things for others. Sometimes we do them for ourselves. The question to ask right now is, after all, who is running your show for you?

I have asked a number of people that question, and almost all of the time the answer is not as easy as you would think. You see, psychologists agree that the greatest emotional need each of us has is exactly the same. We want to belong. We want to be loved for who we are. We want to be loved by someone who truly knows us and accepts us for who we are.

But sometimes the question of why we do what we do is more complicated than it seems. And we often times compromise ourselves in pursuit of securing a place to belong by comforming to external demands.

I was talking to a large group of people recently and at one point I began to focus on the subject of authorship of their lives. One man sat for about half-an-hour and stared blankly into space. I could tell I had lost him by the look on his face. During a break he walked over and said, "I was thinking about what you said and I don't get it. What does the term authorship mean?"

Well, it's really simple, authorship means being responsible for your life, like a writer is responsible for a story. You can't control the world around you, but you can control your part of it. Authorship means being the uncontested creator of your life, as far as your potential will allow. Self-creation cannot take place only in your mind. Self-creation requires action.  

G.B.U.

Steve



Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.

 


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